What Is the Best Career Path to CEO?

Are you interested in becoming a Chief Executive Officer at a company? This type of top-level position charges you with the management of an organization, from its people to its day-to-day business. You are the hub between workers, the public and the board of directors and are highly paid to oversee a company’s overall operations.

Unless you own the company, you must work up to this management level. A lot of dedication is needed to climb, but the view from the top can be spectacular. Wondering how to do it? Here is the career path to CEO.

Career Path to CEO

A CEO is obtained through these three methods:

CEO Founder

This individual founded the company and acted as its top executive. They are top performers and are dedicated to high achievement for their company.

CEO Non-Founder

A non-founder is an executive that has been hired into the position of CEO for the company. They bring a vast set of credentials and a wide skill set to the position and take the place of the founder when they have other professional pursuits.

CEO Successor

A successor takes over when a former CEO steps down, often a board of directors member. This individual is usually groomed for the position and has worked under the CEO for some time.

CEO Education

Every high position in a company needs an educated person to fill it. To start your path to CEO, you must obtain several levels of education.

A bachelor’s degree is the starting point as this is a way to specialize in a field, but you should continue to your Master’s as well, as it provides even more applicable knowledge. Getting a degree in business, accounting, economics, law, science, or engineering is the best option for real-world applications in commerce.

Other job training for specialized occupations may be necessary, and obtaining various certifications like a financial planner or an information security manager strengthens your leadership skills and expertise. It is also important where you go to school and what networks your form along the way. Thankfully, you can always brush up your training with executive coaching programs.

CEO Skills

For the CEO role, you need a set of essential skills you must master. These will be obtained through your education, training, and real-world experience while working in management positions at various companies.

Here are the most valuable skills and competencies:

Financial Skills

These involve understanding financial matters and how your decisions will impact a company.

Strategic Management

There is several styles you can adopt and have a strong grasp of to successfully manage departments, people and processes within a company.

People Skills

You are responsible for public relations in the company, and you must be able to negotiate and listen effectively and have strong public speaking ability.

Industry-Specific Skills

Whatever sector you work in, you must have technical expertise in the field to guide the company and its workforce.

Corporate Strategy

The ability to manage a team, understand the functioning of a company and how guide it towards success is crucial in your role.

Business Ethics

Ethics involves the implementation of procedures and policies about corporate governance. These include ethical dilemmas like bribery, fraud, discrimination, insider trading and environmental regulations.

CEOS are not afraid to fail, quick to act, possess an adaptable and visionary outlook, and are conscientious.

CEO Internal and External Paths

Working your way to the top takes time and experience, and you need to gain skills and occupy executive positions at various companies or work your way up in one company.

Internal Path

After your education, you can start in an entry-level position at a company you want to be part of. This path will take years, so make sure you love the company’s mission and ethos. You have to grind and take every opportunity to advance through extra training, long hours and absolute dedication.

Connecting with internal mentors to help you advance and establish a strong reputation and track record in the business is important. Over time you will be in a position to be groomed to take over as CEO.

External Path

Getting hired into the CEO position is a tougher challenge. You must attain unparalleled achievements within your industry and leave behind a proven track record of leadership and hard work. As you work your way up in different companies, you leverage the skills you have learned into higher positions in the next business.

This route may take 10 – 20 years, but you gain tonnes of experience to your advantage. It’s important to join a career network to maintain valuable business connections and take smaller roles to position yourself for something bigger. Take on as many different jobs in various sectors and learn as much as possible.

The road to CEO is not a wide boulevard but a well-trodden path with many bumps. Use this as a roadmap to build your career wisely and strive upward to the top spot of CEO.